For those of us who live in the northern part of the country spring can be a magical time. The snow melts, crocuses and daffodils bloom and we get to open up the doors and windows and let the fresh spring air waft in. It’s also the time when all those little insects come out of dormancy and our houses suddenly become overridden with flies, beetles and other pesky bugs. Before you reach for that can of pesticide, here are some ways to rid yourself of indoor pests without filling your house with chemicals.
Natural home ant control
To keep ants from entering the home you can use salt, bone meal, dried sage or mint, powdered charcoal, cinnamon, red chili pepper, or cream of tartar. Pour a line of any of these substances at the point of entry to the home to form an effective barrier. Ants will not cross the line.
Use vinegar to clean any surfaces in the home where you have noticed ants. This disrupts their natural homing mechanism. Ants leave a trail of acetic acid to find their way back to the nest. The trail also works to lead other ants to their food source in your home. Vinegar eliminates the trail.
Use this recipe to make home made ant killer: mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon borax with 2 tablespoons of water to make thick syrup. The syrup can be left out anywhere you would leave a commercial ant trap. The ants eat the mixture and carry it back to the nest. This slowly kills them off. NOTE: this mixture is natural, but borax is not safe for your pets or children to eat so don’t put the mixture out where they’re likely to get into it.
Natural cockroach control methods
For a home made cockroach killer try mixing equal amounts of oatmeal flower and plaster of paris, baking soda and powered sugar or equal amounts of borax and brown sugar. Set the mixture out in dishes where the cockroaches congregate (i.e. in cupboards and closets). Boric acid is also effective, and it’s effects don’t wear off over time, but it is toxic. If you choose to go this route, make sure you get technical boric acid which is tinted blue and easily identified. Medical boric acid is a white powder which can easily be confused with sugar. NOTE: as with the home made ant killer, these mixtures are not safe for your children or pets to eat.
Another option is to make your own roach traps. A trap can be made from a glass jar containing a mixture which will attract the roaches. Try a few pieces of bannana, dry dog food, apple peels or potato. Smear the inside rim of the jar with grease or petroleum jelly. Stand the jar upright and prop a toungue depressor against the outside so the roaches can crawl in. Once they’re in the jar, they can’t get out.
These same methods will work on silverfish.
Home made fly killers
You can make a safe and effective fly killer by beating the yolk of an egg with a table spoon each of molasses and finely ground black pepper. Set the mixture out in dishes and it will kill flies quickly.
Fly paper is another safe method, albeit an unsightly one, to kill houseflies. You can make your own by mixing sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Spread the mixture on brown paper…a paper grocery bag cut into strips works fine…and hang or set out. Flies will be attracted to the sweetness and won’t be able to get away.
Get rid of fruit flies naturally by setting out a small dish with cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Red wine also works. The vinegar or wine is the attractant, and the detergent is the lethal ingredient.
Natural moth control
Store clothes in airtight containers or in sealed bags with cedar blocks. Cedar works by repelling the moth larvae which cause damage to clothing and textiles.
Use any of the following ingredients to make sachet bags for your dresser drawers and storage areas: dried lemon peels, dried lavender, bay leaves, whole cloves, cedar chips, whole peppercorns or mixture of dried rosemary and mint.
Also, make sure any clothes you put into storage are clean. Moths are attracted to dirt and oils (such as food, grease and sweat) which may be left on your clothing. Clean clothes aren’t as attractive to these little buggers.
Get rid of pests on houseplants
Make your own plant spray with a mild dish detergent solution. Spray on, then rinse off with clean water.
For a leave-on recipe, try mixing 6 cloves, 1 crushed garlic cove, 1 minced onion, 1 tablespoon pure soap and 1 gallon hot water. Let the mixture sit for 1 to 2 days. Strain out the solids and apply the liquid solution to the plant leaves.
The primary reason pests invade your home is that they find a food source there or they are looking for shelter. Keeping your kitchen countertops, sinks, cupboards and trash cans clean will go a long way towards limiting pest infestations. Remember to keep pantry items in tightly sealed containers, and don’t keep fresh fruit out for long.
Keep in mind that maligned creatures such as spiders, dragonflies, lady bugs, frogs, toads and praying mantis are all natural insect predators. So when you find them around your house you may want to let them be.
Employing some of these easy home remedies will help keep your home pest free and chemical free at the same time.